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Kim Dotcom Extradition Decision Due Tomorrow

Update 12/22: Judge approves extradition. Bail continued. Appeals next.

The New Zealand courts tweeted a few hours ago that the decision on Kim Dotcom's extradition will be released tomorrow afternoon. More from the New Zealand Herald here.

I'm sending good thoughts his way. [More...]

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Oscar Pistorius Granted Bail Pending New Appeal/Sentencing

Oscar Pistorius has been granted bail pending the outcome of his new appeal and should that fail, his sentencing. His next court date is in April. He is appealing the recent appeals court decision changing his manslaughter conviction to murder to the Constitutional Court.

From reporters covering the hearing on Twitter: He will remain on house arrest, but is free to leave the house between 7 am and midnight. He will be allowed to travel within 20km of (his uncle's house in Waterkloof, Pretoria.

The Judge said, ""I am of the view that it would not be in the interests of justice that the applicant should not leave the house at all" [More...]

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San Bernadino: No Links to Non-U.S. Terror Groups

At the press conference on San Bernadino today, the FBI was emphatic:

At the news conference, Mr. Bowdich said that at this point, the authorities did not believe that forces beyond the nation’s borders had been involved in orchestrating the attack.

“I want to be crystal clear here — we do not see any evidence so far of a plot outside the continental U.S.,” he said. “We may find it someday, we may not; we don’t know. But right now we’re looking at these two individuals.”

Shhh....don't tell Donald Trump. It will probably ruin his day.

Also, apparently authorities no longer view the wife was the primary radicalized one. They say Syed had been radicalized long before he met her. [More...]

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San Bernadino: Supporters vs. Soldiers

President Obama said today the San Bernadino shooters were not affiliated with a specific terrorist group or part of a bigger cell.

The President's team also affirmed that they had as of yet uncovered no indication the killers were part of an organized group or formed part of a broader terrorist cell.

Obama will address the nation on the shooting and our response to terror threats tomorrow night.

Yesterday, an unofficial ISIS news account praised the couple as supporters. Today, ISIS official radio station, al Bayan, referred to them as supporters in Arabic. The English audio version refers to them as "soldiers of the Khalifah" (available here at 3'20" in.) The French version says sympathizers. If supporters rather than soldiers is correct, which most analysts on Twitter seem to think is the case, the attacks may have been inspired by ISIS but not directed by ISIS (or al Qaida.)

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Oscar Pistorius Now Convicted of Murder

The South African appeals court has ruled the trial judge in the Oscar Pistorius case erred in dismissing the murder charge. He won't get a new trial. He now stands convicted of murder, and the case will be sent back to the trial court for resentencing.

Bad ruling as I've opined many times.

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Media Misidentifies Riverside Shooter

Shades of Sandy Hook, when the media, in its rush to be first,
misidentified Adam Lanza's older brother Ryan as the shooter.
It went viral, with photos, his FB page, the whole 9 yards. He lived in New Jersey and had nothing to do with Sandy Hook.

The Daily Beast just made a similar mistake, posting a photo of Syed Syed Raheel Farook and identifying him as the shooting suspect.

There are two men named Syed R. Farook who work for the County of San Bernadino. One is a restaurant health inspector. The other works in a tax department. They happen to be brothers. The health inspector is Syed Rizwan Farook, age 28. According to the latest press conference by San Bernadino Police around 10:15 pm PT last night, Syed Rizwan Farook, Syed Rizwan Farook (DOB 6/14/87), not Syed Raheel Farook, is the suspected shooter and is now dead. The other dead suspect is his wife or girlfriend, Tashfeen Malik (DOB 7/13/86).

Four hours after posting the wrong brother's photo and labeling him the suspected shooter, the Daily Beast removed the photo from the article and at the very bottom of its article adds:

UPDATE 12/3/15 1:04 A.M. An earlier version of this story identified one of the San Bernardino shooters as Syed Raheel Farook. We sincerely regret the error.

Of course, that does little to help Syed Raheel Farook, whose photo, as well as his wife's, has now spread all over FB and Twitter.

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Multiple Shooters Suspected in San Bernadino Killings

Police say more than one shooter reportedly fled the scene of today's shooting at a social service center in San Bernadino. The police chief just confirmed 14 deaths and 14 injuries. The information they have now is there were three attackers.

Sgt. Vicki Cervantes, a San Bernardino police spokeswoman, told reporters at the scene that up to three shooters were believed to be involved in the attack inside the Inland Regional Center.... heavily armed and were possibly wearing body armor.

Police also detonated a device inside the building. Was there a bomb? Police say they don't know.

The FBI Assistant Director is on the scene and says it is too soon to say if it is a terrorist incident. The police chief downplays the holiday party rumor, although he said most of those shot were in one place.

The police chief says the shooters came prepared, were well equipped and were "on a mission." They had "long-guns" not handguns. [More...]

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Activist Lori Berenson Finally Allowed to Return to U.S.

After 20 years, activist Lori Berenson, convicted of aiding leftist rebels in Peru, is finally returning home to New York.

The 46-year-old has been living quietly in Lima with her 6-year-old son since her 2010 parole because she was barred from leaving the country until her 20-year sentence lapsed. Berenson told The Associated Press that occurred on Sunday.

The basics:

She was initially convicted of treason in 1996 by a court of hooded military judges and sent for nearly three years to a frigid prison at 12,700 feet (3,870 meters) altitude, where her health suffered.

After U.S. pressure and a legal defense aided by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, Berenson was retried in a civilian court in 2001....

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An Educated Alienated Loner

Is anyone surprised that Robert Lewis Dear, Jr is described by those who came into occasional contact with him as a reclusive loner ? He lived in a dilapidated trailer off the beaten path. His only political activity reported so far consists of once handing an anti-Obama pamphlet to a neighbor who had stopped by his trailer.

His ex-wife says he has a college degree and used to be an art dealer of some sort. He did not seem particularly religious or political. When they split up, she said she had no problem with Dear having custody of their 12 year old son and raising him. (She remarried and said she only saw Dear a handful of times since they split in 2000.)

Dear moved to Colorado from North Carolina in the last year or two and bought a piece of land in Hartsel, CO, which is in Park County, about 45 minutes from Colorado Springs. He lived in a trailer with a woman and two dogs.

He has no significant criminal history and none in the past decade. In North Carolina he lived in a cabin in the woods on Black Mountain near Asheville, NC that had no electricity or running water. Until his divorce in 2000, he lived in South Carolina. He grew up in Lexington, KY.

His neighbors, who barely had any contact with him, describe him as an unkempt reclusive malcontent who never appeared threatening (despite being 6'4" tall) and didn't express political opinions.

Most abortion clinic violence has occurred through bombings, not shootings. One exception was John Salvi in Mass. He killed himself in prison in 1996. [More...]

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Viktor Bout: 90 days in Solitary for Making Kombucha in Cell

Russian arms merchant Viktor Bout is serving his 25 year sentence at Marion, IL. He's in the highly restrictive Communications Management Unit. Having already lost his appeal, he sought a new trial based on newly discovered evidence. The Court denied it on October 26. (Case 08-cr-00365-SAS, SDNY, Document 124.)

His lawyer says he has been put in the hole for 90 days for making alcohol in his cell -- but it wasn't alcohol, it was Kombucha (a probiotic digestive aid drink.) He also lost 40 days of good time.

In other Bout news, the documentary The Notorious Mr. Bout, which the film's makers say is "the ultimate rags-to-riches-to-prison memoir" is now available online, and through iTunes and Amazon. It contradicts his image as the Merchant of Death as portrayed by Nicolas Cage in the earlier film "Lord of War." [More....]

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Roman Polanski: Poland Rejects U.S. Extradition Request

At least some good news today: Poland has rejected the U.S. request to extradite 82 year old director Roman Polanski for a crime committed almost 40 years ago.

At a hearing in Krakow, Judge Dariusz Mazur ruled that turning over Mr. Polanski would be an “obviously unlawful” deprivation of liberty and that California would be unlikely to provide humane living conditions for the filmmaker, who is 82.

He was also critical of the U.S. judge and prosecutors in the case, saying if he behaved like they did, he'd lose all respect. [More...]

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Mexico Touts Arrest of El Chapo Escape Helpers

Mexico's Attorney General this week announced the arrest of six people (and a few more with arrest warrants who are not yet caught) who helped Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman escape from Altiplano prison in July. She didn't name them but their names are available on Mexican news sites. (More here and here.)

Several were arrested in July and August -- in other words, not all are new arrests, just newly disclosed arrests. So who are they? See below: [More...]

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Mexico Claims El Chapo Injured in Failed Search Operation

The U.S. is still using electronic surveillance to locate Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. Last week, intercepted cell phone signals or satellite communications (take your pick) led them to believe he was in the "Golden Triangle", the region shared by Chihuahua, Sinaloa and Durango. The U.S. passed the info on to Mexico's Navy, which launched a search operation. It came up empty, finding only some clothes and discarded cell phones and other objects.

The Mexican government today released a statement confirming the unsuccessful search operation. It says El Chapo was injured in fleeing from the site of the raid, but not by direct confrontation. [More...]

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Another U.S. Extradition Warrant Issued for El Chapo Guzman

Mexico announced today that a judge has approved an arrest warrant for the extradition of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman to the Western District of Texas. Mexico's announcement (in Spanish) is here.

Here are the details of the Texas Indictment, which was returned in 2012. [More...]

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Kim Dotcom Extradition Hearing Begins

Kim Dotcom's extradition hearing has begun in New Zealand. It is expected to take 4 weeks. It's being heard together with the extradition requests for his MegaUpload partners, Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann, and Bram van der Kolk. [More...]

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